Jan 17, 2020

Supreme Court to decide whether Electoral College must follow voters' will

Congressional clerks pass the Electoral College certificate from Ohio at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 4, 2013. The votes were tallied during a joint session of Congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court will decide whether states can punish Electoral College members who do not support the winner of their state's popular vote, otherwise known as "faithless electors."

Why it matters: A group of faithless electors could upend an election, and states want to ensure that elections reflect their voters' will.

Where it stands: 32 states and Washington, D.C. require their electors to cast their Electoral College votes for the winner of their respective statewide popular vote, the Washington Post reports.

  • In its brief, Washington state wrote that doing away with those laws “would mean that only 538 Americans — members of the Electoral College — have a say in who should be president; everything else is simply advisory.”

The other side: Challengers argue the Constitution does not grant states the ability to modulate electoral votes.

“There is no mechanism for state officials to monitor, control, or dictate electoral votes. ... Instead, the right to vote in the Constitution and federal law is personal to the electors, and it is supervised by the electors themselves.”
— Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig and his group Equal Citizens in a brief siding with the electors

The court will likely rule in early summer.

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No confidence in 2020 referees

Data: Fox News poll of 1,003 registered voters, Oct.6–8, 2019. Margin of error ±3 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

If the 2020 presidential election is close enough to trigger a fight over the results, the public's confidence is so low in key people and institutions that no one is likely to be a trusted referee.

Why it matters: Given how tight the last few elections have been, the likelihood of a contested election is quite real — which means the danger of a fight over the results is real, too.

Go deeperArrowJan 18, 2020

Trump's selective urgency at the Supreme Court

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The Trump administration has consistently tried to get controversial cases in front of the Supreme Court as quickly as possible — but not when that might have meant striking down the entire Affordable Care Act before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump’s Justice Department has tried to leapfrog the traditional process far more than its predecessors did, and at least one Supreme Court justice seems to be worried that it’s affecting the court’s work.

Go deeperArrowJan 23, 2020

Voter turnout breaks New Hampshire Democratic primary record

Sen. Bernie Sanders rallies in New Hampshire on Feb. 11. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

New Hampshire voters broke the state's 2008 record this week for the most votes cast in a New Hampshire Democratic primary election, the party announced Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 300,000 Democratic votes were cast on Tuesday — easily breaking 2008's record of 288,000 votes — while roughy 156,000 Republican votes were cast, per New Hampshire's secretary of state.